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“Best day of a perfect vacation!”

Desafio Adventure Company
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Desafio Adventure Company is the pioneering outfitter in Costa Rica's Epicenter of Adventure near the Arenal Volcano founded in 1992. Desafio offers high-quality rafting, canyoning, biking, hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, stand up paddling, cooking classes, unique cultural experiences, transfer with tour services, incentive programs, volunteer opportunities and much more! We only have two rules: 1) Be Safe! and 2) Have Serious Fun! Look for Desafio in Downtown La Fortuna near the Arenal Volcano, next to the El Salto waterfall or take the Desafio Adventure Connections to the Monteverde, Guanacaste, San Jose, Manuel Antonio and Playa Samara. Desafio is family-owned and operated and your "one-stop-shop" for adventure travel in Costa Rica and beyond!
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Lockers / storage, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Rafting the 2-3 rapids of Rio Balsa was awesome!!!! Desafio provided safe, clean buses to the river, stopping at a fruit stand along the way. The drivers and guides were super fun and friendly! The rafting was super fun, while safe, and exhilarating for novice rafters. Plenty of white water. We stopped for a fruit snack for halfway with the tastiest pineapple I ever had. After we finished, there were clean changing rooms to change for a trip to a 100 year old farm house on a river that was so beautiful. The couple who own the home were exceptionally gracious and charming. They gave us a demonstration of extracting sugar cane juice using oxen, a delicious Costa Rican lunch on a porch over looking a river and surrounded by natural beauty, accompanied by singing. It was an ideal day!! I would recommend this to anyone.

Thank DFWTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,174 - 2,178 of 3,748 reviews

Reviewed July 22, 2013 via mobile

My family and I just came back from a ten day trip to Costa Rica. We thought our 4 year old son would like horseback riding and when we were visiting the Arenal area we decided to book the Desafio horseback trip to the La Fortuna waterfalls.

We decided late one night after the concierge desk was closed (we were staying at Arenal Springs). So I booked thru the Desafio website and followed up with a phone call. I had wanted the morning trip but it was full. Luckily the sales agent said there was an afternoon one and we signed up for that. I didnt get an email payment receipt for my booking but I figured not every company may be doing that. The cost was clear when I booked $65 per person and according to the reservation policy on the site, kids under five were free.

We went on the trip and had a great time. Our pickup was on time and Didier our guide was great. My son rode with my husband ("renamed" his horse Bull's eye from Toy story!), did the hike down and back without ANY help and even took a dip in the waterfall pool. There was another family on the trip and we had a wonderful time.

We got back home and when I looked at my credit card statement, the charge was $200 not the $130 that I was expecting. I called Desafio and I was told:

1. Sorry we billed you $69 per person when it was $65. Then the story changed to...

2. Sorry but you didn't tell us you had a 4 year old. You only mentioned a child but not the age (when the reservation site clearly indicate a drop down for children less than six AND I spoke to someone about our reservation). And the story changed to...

3. Sorry yes kids are free below age five but it's only for Desafio operated tours and we didn't operate that one (!) and so we can only give you a discount for part of the cost (again this was not clear from the booking page and wasn't mentioned by their agent on the phone to me either). This is despite me actually doing my part to check all the details!

Traveling with a four year old is challenging and Ive been talking to all our hotels and the tour operators we used during the last ten days about costs for children. I haven't been blindsided by any other provider. Everyone else has been very clear about their charges for kids.

I don't know if anyone else has had this problem with Desafio or not, I am surprised that such a reputable company would provide such awful service.

It is really disappointing and what a way to ruin a great memory. If things go well, service companies are great but the true test comes from how they handle complaints and this one has struck out.

If I had been told during the booking that it would cost X for my four year old that would have been useful and I would have probably gone anyhow. This business of changing the rates and making it up as they go is just not right.

Just a word of warning to any families thinking of using Desafio La Fortuna. The trip was great but just make VERY SURE you know exactly what they are going to charge you. Don't believe the figures on the website.

2  Thank SJinBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DesafioAdventures, Owner at Desafio Adventure Company, responded to this reviewResponded July 23, 2013

Hola SJinBoston -

It's nice to hear you had a fun time during your family vacation in Costa Rica.

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. We are terribly sorry we didn't provide you a concise response about the charges to your credit card and then the appropriate refund. And we apologize for the confusion about the price for your 4-year-old son doing the horseback ride to the La Fortuna Waterfall.

We try to be as clear as possible about our reservation policies and when you booked online, we made an error and did not catch that you indicated you had a child under six years of age.

Our reservations policy on our website states that the recommended ages for horseback riding to the La Fortuna Waterfall are 8-65 years of age. In addition, the description indicates that our approved adventure partner Lobo Tours is the operator.

You are correct, for the tours we operate (for example: nature walks, etc.) children under 5 go for free. However, as we explained in the description of the tour, our partner Lobo Tours is the operator and recommends that 8-65 year-olds go on the tour and does not gives a 10% discount for children.

Unfortunately, Didier, your horseback guide also made an error and allowed your young son to go on this rather-adventurous ride. We are a company that prides itself in safety and we are disappointed in ourselves that this happened. However, we are happy your son did enjoy his ride on "Bull's Eye" the horse.

In terms of the charges to your card, as our Reservations staff explained, we wrongly charged $69 (instead of $65) x 2 and then gave a 10% off of $69 ($62) for your child for a total of $200.

Again, I must apologize that our staff did not properly empathize with your situation and promptly refund the amount charged for your child and the extra $4 per person. And you are right, it's very challenging traveling with young ones (we have a three-year old) and it can get rather expensive.

I have asked our accounting department to look into your situation and apply the proper refund for you immediately.

Because of your comment, we discovered we need to be clearer about our reservation and safety policies and that our staff should be more careful about taking reservations when children are involved to be sure children too young for a tour are not accidentally reserved. Again, thank you for bringing this to our attention.

We hope you come back again, especially when your son is a bit older so he can go riding again!

Warm regards,
Suresh and Christine Krishnan, owners

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

This is the best advernture company we have ever come across. In July 2013, with our 4 children, we did the level 2/3 white water rafting and then the canyoning. on another day. Both were fantastic experiences and well worth every penny. The staff could not have been more professional or more charming. they are very safety conscious but bend over backwards to make the whole experience a delight. The rafting trip also involved the most amazing lunch at the end, with a view of the volcano and a demonstration of how sugar cane was made - so it was much more than a rafting trip. The canyoning involved 2 huge waterfalls, the second one being around 220 feet and that was a real thrill, followed by another superb lunch.

1  Thank david l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2013

Yes, I gave Desafio transportation an excellent rating because I used them for all of our transportation between the airport and our three destinations. All of the drivers are very careful. We were taken from the airport to La Fortuna, to Monteverde, to Manuel Antonio, and then back to the airport. These are long trips and I never felt unsafe around all of the mountains and curves which is really amazing. The only concern I had was luggage during the taxi-boat-taxi trip. There is just not a good way to get even a 21" suitcase to and from the boat. I think this portion is actually a local company. I was extremely happy with the drivers who had Desafio vans. My husband said driving the mountain roads would have been too tiring. Take it easy and ride with Desafio. Just consider taking the long way to Monteverde.

Thank slix1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 20, 2013

This was my first trip to Costa Rica, and after spending 7 days in that beautiful country, I made plenty of memories. By far my favorite day, was the day I spent with Desafio Adventure Company! I took part in the Mambo Combo: Lost Canyon Adventure & Half Day Rafting Class II –III. It was my first day of activities and it set the standard high.
The whole day was well organized; all the guides spoke excellent English, provided quality instructions, and were extremely friendly and helpful. The two rules of the company: Be safe and Have FUN! This was easily accomplished. The service provided was top notch and I would highly recommend anyone traveling to Costa Rica to contact Desafio Adventure Company for their travel needs!
Thank you Edson and Jose V.

Thank theats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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